Report: U.S. Govt. Ranks Last Among Major Industries on Cybersecurity

Education, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries also ranked low on cybersecurity.

WASHINGTON – U.S. federal, state and local government agencies have the worst cybersecurity protocols compared to 17 major private industries, including transportation, retail and health care, according to a new report by venture-backed security risk monitoring startup SecurityScorecard.

The report measured the security of government and private industries across 10 categories, including vulnerability to malware infections, exposure rates of passwords, and susceptibility to social engineering.

Federal agencies had the lowest score on network security, software patching flaws and malware. NASA came in last place. The report found that the space exploration agency was vulnerable to E-mail scams and malware intrusions.

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The U.S. State Department was among the low-performing government agencies. Education, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries also ranked low on cybersecurity, as did the information technology systems used by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maricopa County, Arizona, the report found.

Government agencies have continually struggled to keep pace with growing cybersecurity threats. The issue made headlines when the Office of Personnel Management was hacked, exposing the personal information of over 21 million federal workers.

Government agencies with the strongest security scores included Clark County, Nevada, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, according to the report.

Poor cybersecurity protocols in federal agencies has repeatedly been included on the Government Accountability Office’s “high-risk” list, an annual ranking of the worst accountability challenged to government faces.

“With serious data breaches making headlines on what seems like a weekly basis, our team felt compelled to turn a spotlight on government agencies and determine which of them are demonstrating a commitment to securing their infrastructure and which are falling short,” said Dr. Luis Vargas, Sr. Data Scientist at SecurityScorecard. “The data we uncovered clearly indicates that while some are improving their security postures, too many are leaving themselves dangerously exposed to risks and vulnerabilities, especially at the larger federal level.”

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